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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Bucks County Auto Theft Penalties

If a person in Bucks County is charged with theft of a motor vehicle as defined by the Pennsylvania crimes code, the person is essentially being charged with a felony of the third degree as well as related charges such as receiving stolen property, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and criminal mischief. Bucks County auto theft penalties involve fines and/or incarceration. Under the right circumstances and with the right advice, an individual can often turn an incarceration sentence into a much lesser sentence including a diversionary program for those eligible and probation. However, before these options become available, certain defenses need to be reviewed and/or the right parties need to be  contacted in a person’s defense.  Get in touch with a proactive auto theft lawyer who will make sure that all of this gets done.

Felony Charges

Auto theft is always a felony in Pennsylvania inclusive of Bucks County; that is anytime a motor vehicle is being taken, the crime of theft and/or receiving stolen property is by statute graded as a felony of the third degree. Therefore, as a felony of the third degree, an individual faces a sentence of up to three and a half to seven years of incarceration and a $15,000 fine.  Additionally, other charges often follow the theft charge of a motor vehicle in Bucks County as well as the rest of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Those charges can add additional time and/or consequences to anyone convicted of them; those charges are receiving stolen property of a motor vehicle graded as a felony of the third degree, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree, and criminal mischief involving a motor vehicle also graded as a misdemeanor of the second degree.

Second Offense Consequences

In Pennsylvania, there is no consequence directly involving a second offense for theft of a motor vehicle. However, the Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines come into play when determining what a person faces because of such an offense. This means that a person’s prior record, in general, comes into play. Every time an individual is charged and convicted of such, the potential Bucks County auto theft penalties are much more severe. For a first offense, a person may be eligible for probation or a diversionary program.

With a second offense, incarceration is always the highest possibility and with the third case, incarceration is usually  the only possibility. Therefore, in order to protect oneself from the possibility of a long period of incarceration and thousands of dollars in fines and costs, it is essential if charged with a first, second or third theft of a motor vehicle or theft of a motor vehicle to obtain the right services from the right lawyers with the right resources in order to defend the case.

Contact an Attorney

In Pennsylvania, a person has an initial arraignment where an attorney’s role is simply to help their client obtain bail so that the person can be free pending the charges of theft of a motor vehicle. A local arraignment hearing is held at the local district court where the alleged crime of theft of a motor vehicle occurred, and at that stage, the defense can make arguments against the defendant having to post thousands of dollars in bail or otherwise be forced to stay incarcerated pending the open theft of a motor vehicle charge being heard.

Additionally, in Pennsylvania, an entry of not guilty is informally indicated at the arraignment hearing and then a second arraignment hearing occurs post-preliminary hearing and at that second arraignment hearing,  the matter can otherwise be scheduled for trial and all police material should be turned over to the defense. If you have been charged with auto theft and find yourself facing Bucks auto theft penalties, make sure that you are working with a lawyer that will fight for you.